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Home » Quality Improvement & Patient Safety » Patient Safety » What is a critical incident?

What is a critical incident?

In Manitoba a critical incident is defined in legislation as:

An unintended event that occurs when health services are provided to an individual and results in a consequence to him or her that:

  1. is serious and undesired, such as death, disability, injury or harm, unplanned admission to hospital or unusual extension of a hospital stay, and
  2. does not result from the individual's underlying health condition or from a risk inherent in providing health services.

Some examples of a critical incident might include:

  • Being operated on the wrong side or site.
  • Receiving the wrong medicine or wrong dose of a medicine that results in serious harm to the patient, resident or client.
  • “Breakdowns” in communication during transitions of care that result in serious harm to the individual.
  • Delaying treatment or not receiving treatment when this results in a preventable adverse outcome to the individual.